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(Text from Ander!)

There is lots of work to be done, and we’d love your help and company!

Since our boulevard was removed without any notice, and all the dirt put in the front yard … well … let’s just say we can’t get into our front door anymore. All that soil must be sorted and placed onto existing garden beds.

Also, all the city hoopla has caused us to fall behind in our planting schedule. Come dig, plant, and play with soil with us! We are also looking for someone who will come and cook for the hungry workers. Vegetables and other ingredients provided (some improvisation required).

When: Wednesday, May 5 from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. … or whenever we are too tired to work any longer.

Where: The Farmhouse, 470 E. 56th Avenue

Please bring if you can:
-empty wine bottles
-cardboard with low amounts of ink
-a vegetable to contribute to lunch

Thanks, friends! See you there!

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This post brought to you by the colour yellow and the letter kale. Wait, kale's not a letter ...

Our phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from people enthusiastic about the garden and wanting to help. We’ve also had many, many curious people just stopping by (or driving by slowly), including a woman earlier in the week who came all the way out from UBC with her little baby on an adventure. So much love.

To that end, we’ve arranged some times that Ander and Sara will be available to give tours, drop off donations, or just talk permaculture. Tour the garden! See the greenhouse! Meet Garden Buddha! Make an offering at the fairy alter! Play with our decrepit cat!

Farmhouse Open House

Friday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday, May 2 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Address: 470 E. 56th Avenue (between Fraser and Main)

 


Here are some supplies we’d love for the garden if anyone has them lying around. Please keep in mind that we do not want money or anything bought new; we’re simply hoping these are things you’re looking to rid yourself of anyway!

Farmhouse Wish List

    • cardboard free of inks and tape
    • woodchips
    • old bricks with which to edge beds
    • a decent wheelbarrow
    • someone with a truck willing to donate a couple of hours of time to collect woodchips and/or go on a dump run (we can supply gas money and dump fees)

Hope to see you there!

Love from the Farmhouse Animals

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So this weekend’s work party was a resounding success! We had five or six people stop by over the course of the day and Ander did a fantastic job educating passerbys on our yarden. We had a bunch of people sign our petition to keep our yard exactly the way it is and we’re so much closer to getting a block party organized!

It was really nice to connect with the neighbours, actually. One told us tales of how people would come by our house with empty strollers and steal our pumpkins. One guy who works as a landscaper was fully in support of us and promised to bring us clean grass clippings, plants from other sites, tools he doesn’t need, and topsoil as well as offering to help fix the tools we have. So much love!

Kiko was a total jerk and did not help at all.

Fun story: The tenants previous to us used to use the front yard as some sort of trash can. I made the champion decision to tackle the one bed we’d never bothered to dig out previously because it’s full of trash. Ander pulled out two baby carriage frames from it weeks ago. I managed to dig out a garden hose, three bags of garbage, a fully-inflated basketball, a used diaper (ewwww), an army man, a plastic Viking figurine, and numerous pens and pencils. Seriously. Disgusting. Who buries trash in their yard when we have a weekly trash collection service?

Max was a champ and not only fixed up the greenhouse and finally (FINALLY!) got all the Christmas lights off the house but he tackled organizing our garage. We have cleaned that bastard out at least six times in the past two years, and yet it magically accumulates stuff. I think there’s some sort of vortex in there which allows for remote garbage dumping for aliens or perhaps time travellers. But it’s more organized now. Just need yet another dump run.

Sara was fantastic as well, hauling woodchips and tackling the out-of-control back beds. The whole yard is really starting to come together!

And … OH GOD we totally terraformed the boulevard. Now it has five nice neat ordered rows for planting. We’re going to put yarrow, flax, borage, and … I can’t remember what else in there. Should be neighbourhood friendly.

I definitely need to spend more time in the garden. I hauled dirt and dug weeds for almost eight hours on Saturday and my poor body is still aching today.

Special thanks to Razan and Erik for playing in the mud with us all day and to Tristan and Lina for bringing us much needed nourishment.

Photos to come whenever Ander gets them to me!

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So, I’m in the kitchen of the Farmhouse right now with a slowly growing group of cohorts for a night of dinner and music in celebration of the equinox and, you know, life in general. We just talked to our beloved former roomie Caterina, who’s chillin’ out in California right now. Rin’s going to visit her soon-ish and I’m extra jealous. She promised to give the Goose lots of pets for me!

All’s well in Farmhouse land. There are little plantings growing in the yard, despite the horribly unseasonable snow that seems to keep falling in our fair city. Rin planted some mushrooms today (a first for her) and a perfectly timed thunderstorm watered the patch after. I picked some chickweed and corn salad for dinner and it always amazes me that food grows out of the ground. I’m so accustom to foraging for food at the grocery store that when it comes from my own yard, I’m not quite sure what to make of it. Miracle in action, obviously.

Mmm, fennel is getting roasted and Margaret has affixed bells to her hat. I see Margaret scooping tahini and Rin is making something; she informs us that she’s just making it up as she goes along. I just show up and eat. I’m also a world-class stirrer.

Alright, it’s time that I stop being an antisocial crab and maybe play some bass? I’ve got a new (and unnamed) acoustic bass to play and many ridiculous songs to sing. Happy equinox!

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A ten-week gardening course on a real, working urban farm!

Using techniques from permaculture and organic agriculture, we’ll go step by step through the process of planning, planting, maintaining and harvesting your urban food garden. Whether you have an established garden or are starting from scratch, this course will prepare you with the tools we use on our farm right here in the city of Vancouver. We’ll focus on growing to meet the challenges of urban farming, such as degraded soil, small spaces, and limited time and resources — you’ll leave ready to hit the dirt when spring comes, and get growing year-round!

This course is offered on a pay-what-you-feel basis; you pay what you feel is fair, based on your resources, the time and effort of the instructor, the quality of the information and how valuable it is to you. We suggest a donation of $150 to $300 for the series of ten classes, 2.5 hours per week for ten weeks. Your support helps keep farming alive inside our city limits and makes you a part of localizing our economy.

About our farm: The Farmhouse Farm is a grassroots urban agriculture project on a standard city lot in Vancouver’s Sunset neighbourhood. We are a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) venture based on the concept of share-cropping. Our five members pay a weekly fee for an equal share of our total harvest, which is delivered to their door by bicycle — no chemicals, and no fossil fuels. We are a woman-run organization committed to creating a localized economy based on “real valuables;” good food, grown with love, with care for our environment, care for people, and a fair distribution of resources at the heart of everything we do.

To register for courses or to find out more about our farm, email to farmhousefarm(at)gmail(dot)com

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Think that gardening season is done once summer’s end is near?  Resigning yourself to go back to buying food from California until next June?  Well, think again!  Here in Vancouver we are blessed with a 12-month growing season, and this workshop will help you get started making the most of it!

Even if this is your very first foray into the world of growing your own food, this half-day workshop will give you the knowledge and confidence to jump into fall and winter gardening and into the magic of eating your very own fresh foods even when there’s snow on the ground.  We’ll go over crop selection and soil preparation, care and maintenance, and strategies for meeting the challenges of fall gardening on the coast.  You’ll leave with handouts and reference materials as well as a few little plantlings of your very own to get you started, even if it’s just a few pots on your balcony!

The suggested donation is $35 to $50, which includes the 4-hour workshop (complete with snacks homemade with love by yours truly), all your reference materials and a selection of veggie starts to take home and get growing.

In order to ensure we can all talk to and hear each other, there are only 12 spaces for this workshop so if you’re interested, email your name and contact info to me and I’ll respond to reserve your space.  If you know anyone who might be interested, please help spread the word!

See you in the garden,

rin

When: Saturday, August 30, 1 – 5 p.m.

Where: The Farmhouse

Email: farmhousefarm [at] gmail [dot] com

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This week has been a contrast, weather-wise. On Tuesday, we were definitely in rainy day Farmhouse mode – all of us had the day off, so we sort of wandered from room to room, not quite sure what to do with ourselves. We’d all made plans for the day but the rain was just completely discouraging so we ended up spending most of the day in the kitchen, colouring pictures and eating.

Thursday and Friday, however, were absolutely perfect. I finally managed to get in a day down at Wreck Beach, although the omnipresent police officers were not much of a highlight. The water was cold but there was no way I was taking the hour bus trip to UBC not to splash in the water!

Also this week, Caterina and I put our warpaint on and went dumpster hunting.
ready for the hunt

Our reasoning is that if a security guard sees our face paint, he or she can’t help but be amused with our antics and let us go (wouldn’t you?).

Ander, who took our picture, said, “Look intense! Look fierce!”, which Caterina captured perfectly. However, I had just finished watching two episodes of America’s Next Top Model, so my intensity is all in the eyes.

The dumpster that we went to (good dumpster grounds are highly-regarded secrets) ended up being pretty empty and there was already another diver there who’d gone through and scored whatever was available. However, he was a complete angel and split his haul with us, taking food out of his pack to share.

We are truly, truly blessed.

Today we had a yard sale – not in our yard, which is growing so much every day (I’ll post pictures as soon as I can find Margot and her many cameras!) – but down the street at a friend’s (we are slowly convincing all our friends and loved ones to move to South Vancouver, which is obviously the coolest part of the city). Ever the professionals, we started making signs about 20 minutes before we opened and spent most of the day chasing the dog around, chatting up our neighbours, and relaxing on the back porch.

Tomorrow, we’re going to have a free sale (in hopes of getting rid of all the stuff that didn’t go today), then put whatever doesn’t “sell” into the alley until Tuesday, although that’s no guarantee it’ll go either. A friend recounted a story for us today about these four fairly-new tires he had but he couldn’t use, so he stuck them in his back lane with a sign that read “FREE”. The tires sat there for a month and a half. Then he put up a sign that read “$20!” and they were gone in a week. Are people just naturally distrusting of items to which people won’t attach a dollar value?

Then again, we’ve been burned by free stuff lots before. I always find myself playing the game, “Why Was It Free?” whether I want to or not! This game often strikes with clothing at our house. You’ll find a great skirt in the Free Box with nothing obviously wrong with it, but you’ll put it on and the zipper’s busted, or there’s a stain that won’t come out, or it bunches up when you walk.

With that in mind, free sale this Sunday down the street from the Farmhouse! Lots of adorable clothes! Old economics textbooks, bike frames, and a coffee maker which may or may not work.

Alright, I think it’s time to curl up in my nice, cool basement room and rub some nice, cool aloe on my very sunburnt shoulders. There are definitely yard sale photos to come (everyone had lots of fun dressing up with our hippie gear) but it seems Ander and his camera have disappeared as well …

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